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Very very odd behavior - nose picking and ear pulling.

(9 Posts)
mwix Wed 16-Jul-08 14:58:48

My dd 3 yrs old has the oddest habit since she was about 15 months old. She has the constant need to rub and pick my nose every time she is tired, esp at nap/bedtimes. She also pulls at, folds and scratches both my and DH's ears whilst sucking at her dummy simultaneously. Its got so bad that at times she draws blood and has reduced me to tears on many a times. Its a comfort thing for her (albeit odd)and even though I have explained that the habit is very painful she cannot seem to help it. We have tried doing away with the dummy in the hope that we could stop the nose/ear thing to no avail. Anyone ever come across this or is it just me?
Mwiki X

mindfulmama Wed 16-Jul-08 21:19:53

Have you tried replacing your nose/ears with an alternative in her hands , something else bendy and soft but that can't get hurt. It sounds v sensory to me.? Have you read the out of sync child? might be worth a look. She may still need the dummy tho hope that helps a bit .....

mwix Thu 17-Jul-08 09:40:13

Mindfulmama, thanks for taking time to respond. Yes we have tried replacing my organs with all sorts including blanket, teddie, soft dolls with bendy ears. She will hold on to them with one hand and reach out with the other for an ear or nose, sigh! Last night she managed to sleep without twisting my ear but that is only because I turned my back to her abd clumped my ears down with my hands. She was very frustrated, cried, begged and in the end went to sleep out of sheer exhaustion.

I have not read the book you suggested however just googled it and also looked into SPD. Not sure she she falls into this category as she has no problems with touch / smell / sound / social interaction etc ?

A part of me thinks doing away with the dummy is the only solution - she will not touch my ear / nose without it.

Oh I do not know what to do. Am due soon with second baby, not sure how both of us will cope with the habit. The thought of soothing a newborn whilst bending over for dd to have a little feel horrifies me.

Milco Thu 17-Jul-08 13:50:47

Mwix my little sister (now 23!) used to do a similar thing with ears - she wanted to such her thumb and rub someone's ear at the same time. As you say, it was a comfort thing - my other sister and I had comfort blankets but she always wanted an ear. I don't know in the end how it stopped - I think maybe she took to rubbing her own ear (a lot more convenient) but then I'm not sure she was ever so painful. I can quite imagine how difficult this is, and how you want to try to change her behaviours before your new one arrives. For what its worth I will ask my sister - she might be able to remember more than I can.

mwix Fri 18-Jul-08 11:38:39

Milco, I was beginning to think my child was the only one on the planet to ever do this. Am relieved to hear about your sister and that she eventually stopped - please have a word with her and get her opinion if she remembers.

This morning, whilst my dd was twisting my ear lobe and nostril I did the same to her and she hated it. I thought it might send the right message but sadly it was a battle of wills which she won in the end. I have thought of calling HV/GP but I do not expect any solution tbh.

desperatehousewifetoo Fri 18-Jul-08 12:57:20

I used to suck my thumb and play with my own ear using my other hand. Never drew blood though, I think more stroking than pulling!blush

Can you just say 'no'? I know it's a comfort thing for her but if my dcs did something that hurt me or anyone else, they would be told 'no'. Easy for me to say, I know.

Does she need your ear to go to sleep? or is it more during the day when she hurts herself?

Sorry if I'm barking up the wrong tree - If it is a sleep thing, maybe see it as tackling the 'going to sleep on her own' rather than withdrawing your ear, iyswim. Trying to get her to settle on her own would be appropraite at her age.

Alternatively, can you get joke ears anywhere and sew one onto a toy, or two toys, one for each hand!smile

somethingsticky Fri 18-Jul-08 20:57:07

my dd twists my hair, she had silent reflux and it helped distract her from the pain I think. At 2, even though the reflux is long gone, she still wont drink unles its from a bottle and she has my hair in her hand. I'm so glad she is in a bed now as when she is ill I don't have to spend ages bent into the cot so that she can get her fix! (I have short hair) she knots her own hair into clumps every night and tries with mine. (she tied us together once when I wasn't paying attention!) she doesn't understand that she is hurting me although she will stop pulling it if I ask her to, I only get about a second's break before she is doing it again though. I'm used to it now but it did drive me nuts in the early days when she was feeding for litteraly half the day.

she does also like to jam her fingers up my nose although I can happily say this isn't nearly as frequent as the hair pulling. I was hoping she would grow out of it soon....

sorry no advice but I feel your pain.

mwix Fri 18-Jul-08 22:33:45

Desperatehousewifetoo, the joke ears cracked me up although I have to say your idea may just work. Its the rubbery texture she seems to like and yes she needs the ear to go to sleep. Thing is when she hurts me and I let her know what she does is painful, she apologises profusely - the sincere 'am sorry mummy's just melt my heart and I find myself letting her carry on with her ritual .........

Somethingsticky, your poor scalp I do sympathise with you. Have you tried wearing a bandana, tight fitting cap, wig maybe?

desperatehousewifetoo Sat 19-Jul-08 10:43:23

Bless her with the apologysmile

Is it only your ears she does this with?

What happens if someone else takes her to bed?

If it is only your ears, you could get someone else to do bedtime for a while to wean her off.

(I have visions of you now having to wear 'spock ears' for a while so she gets used to them!)

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